Stocks Gain on Fed Interest Rate Signs

TOKYO (AP) -- World stock markets rose Friday on expectations the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates at a record low for at least several more months.

KEEPING SCORE: Germany's DAX rose 0.7 percent to 10,059.14 and Britain's FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent to 6,404.00. France's CAC 40 advanced 0.7 percent to 4,706.95. Wall Street looked set to ease back from recent gains. Dow futures were down 0.2 percent and S&P 500 futures dropped 0.3 percent.

FED FACTOR: Minutes from the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting showed officials expressing confidence that the U.S. economy was improving. But policymakers worried that inflation remains abnormally low, noting the recent drop in commodity prices. That was the main reason the Fed did not raise interest rates in September. Markets now think the Fed won't hike at its meetings in October or December, particularly after weak monthly U.S. employment numbers.

THE QUOTE: "The Fed minutes released overnight seemed to cement investor expectations for the Fed to delay their first rate rise until 2016," Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG, wrote in a commentary. "The big question now is how far can this relief rally go for?"

ASIA'S DAY: Japan's Nikkei 225 added 1.6 percent to 18,438.67 and Hong Kong's Hang Seng climbed 0.5 percent to 22,458.80. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.3 percent at 5,279.70 and China's Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.3 percent to 3,183.15. Southeast Asian stock markets also rose. South Korea's markets were closed for a holiday.

ENERGY: The price of oil and energy stocks rose as Russia's military actions in Syria raised the risk of a wider conflict in the region. Benchmark U.S. oil gained 77 cents to $50.20 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose $1.62, or 3.4 percent, to $49.43 a barrel in New York on Thursday. Brent crude, which is used to price international oils, rose 46 cents to $53.84. It gained $1.72, or 3.4 percent, to $53.05 a barrel in London.

CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar rose to 120.20 yen from 119.90 yen on Thursday. The euro rose to $1.1320 from $1.1291.

(BAS)